My mother was a Senior Nursing Superintendent in an Indian government hospital. As a child, I used to visit the hospital sometimes and, on one occasion, was introduced to a patient who was dying of carcinoma of the tongue. I had seen very sick patients before but this lady’s condition gave me food for thought, and I asked my mother questions about her and her condition. I also wanted to know how I could avoid her fate. My mother told me that dental and oral hygiene was the key to preventing oral cancers and that regular dental check-ups were vital in recognizing such problems at a treatable stage. I had always intended to work in healthcare and to help people, and the idea of acquiring the skills and knowledge to enable people to avoid that lady’s fate seemed to be an excellent way of doing so. I have found great satisfaction in dentistry and have never regretted my choice.
My immediate goal is to qualify to practice as a dentist in the US, then to gain some experience in the local professional environment and then to pursue a Master’s in my special area of interest, Endodontics and to specialize in that area of work.
I was admitted to the prestigious Holy Cross Dental College, Vellore, India which ranks very high in the Indian National Institutions Ranking Framework. I sought to excel in the program, and my results reflected my efforts. I ranked first in clinical work and my second-year prosthodontics clinical examination, and my work in wax plate adaptation has been used as a model for post-graduate lab studies.
India has significant problems in oral and dental health with disproportionate incidences of oral cancers, early teeth loss and other issues arising from lack of services and lack of public awareness of the importance of oral and dental hygiene and the dangers of habits such as smoking and tobacco chewing. I was involved in providing free dental screenings and awareness education in under-served rural areas during my training and later as a volunteer, which brought the extent of the problems home to me. I intend to give some of my time and skills, in the future, to provide education and treatment to underprivileged Indian and US patients.
After graduation, I was one of six candidates, of about 1,000 who secured a job as a Dentist in an especially prestigious Government Hospital. Three highly skilled and dedicated senior doctors, including a periodontist and an endodontist, mentored me. We saw around 200 outpatients every day for consultations and provided a vast range of dental services. I am also experienced working with advanced dental technologies such as Digital Radiography and Intra Oral Cameras. I participated in daily meetings to discuss general issues and possible solutions. We also discussed the latest medical news. I actively participated in knowledge sharing sessions on dental advancements. I am excited to be part of a profession in which there are so many advances in materials and techniques for the benefit of patients, and I hope to play a role in such future developments through assisting in research.
I became involved in the management side of my hospital by planning for dental camps, interviewing new candidates, transferring patients to Institutions providing higher levels of care, etc. The head of administration greatly appreciated my leadership and administrative skills and encouraged me to consider Management studies, and so I pursued an MBA in Hospital Administration, gaining in-depth leadership and business skills which I believe necessary for corporate dentistry and public health to facilitate patient-centric, data-driven dental practices.
My first experience of the US healthcare system arose during and after my pregnancy, and I was very impressed with the highly efficient yet caring medical environment. Following the birth of my son, I decided to familiarize myself with local dentistry as far as possible to prepare myself for this application and a career here. I shadowed a dedicated and experienced practitioner who taught me much as did his staff. I have sought to make friends with local and international dental students and have shared insights about the contrasts of practicing here and elsewhere in the world. I continuously endeavor to update myself with current advances and opinion through careful reading of journals and research.
I am aware that the US has many more cultural representations, and I know that cultural sensitivity and awareness are particularly vital to a medical professional here. I enjoy being exposed to varied cultures and sharing knowledge of my own heritage. I am a friendly, outgoing person with a well-developed sense of humor and am fully fluent in English as well as my native Tamil language.
I have treated a vast variety of patient types with a wide range of conditions; I excelled academically and clinically during my training; I am an ambitious and able person with considerable potential. However, my main recommendation is a passion for dentistry and for helping patients to maintain excellent dental and oral health.